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Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There
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Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There

2.84  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Excerpt from Ten Nights in a Bar-Room: And What I Saw There
Ten years ago, business required me to pass a day in Cedarville. It was late in the afternoon when the stage set me down at the "Sickle and Sheaf," a new tavern, just opened by a new landlord, in a new house, built with the special end of providing "accommodations for man and beast." As I stepped from the dusty ol
Paperback, 244 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Applewood Books (first published 1854)
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I started reading Ten Nights in a Bar-Room months after hearing about it in a 19th century women's rights class without any idea what I was getting into. This is a heavy-handed moral book, preaching against the evils of drink, and the first half of the book does have its fair share of angelic child melodrama. The second half of this book, however, is an insane temperance themed bloodbath. Pro-Maine Law speeches are punctuated by a surprising amount of stabbings, gouged eyes, and trampled faces, ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Helen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read for Masters programme to contextualise Uncle Tom's Cabin

Provides biblical arguments to support temperance, despite the obvious flaw in that prohibition goes against God's rationale for giving humans free will. Even the drinkers vote for temperance in this book. In my experience people with a drink problem are very rarely the first to recognise their problem and therefore would not request this drastic salvation. The impression created is that all patrons of the inn are helpless to drink and
Jun 06, 2010 Bonnie rated it it was ok
Apparently, this was one of the most important temperance novels of the 19th century, and it reads as such. This novel is essentially an overwrought, worst-possible-case guide to bar-room life that resonates with sensationalism and unintentional hilariousness more often than realism. As the characters descend further and further into total debasement, the narrator peppers the text with "support the Maine Law" messages. Obviously, I'm taking this novel out of its historical context with this revi ...more
Aug 20, 2011 Orion rated it really liked it
Shelves: kobo-on-palm-pre
Having been raised myself in a bar next door to the author's home town of Fort Montgomery, I am fascinated to read what is called the best Temperance novel of the 19th century. Set in the 1850s, this morality tale portrays the evil of alcohol in the story of a mill owner who sells his mill to build a tavern in town. Told by a visitor to the town who stays at the tavern for ten days over a period of ten years, he shows how customers and owner are all too weak to resist the temptations of demon ru ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Erica added it
Shelves: alcohol
Second highest selling book in 19th century America (behind Uncle Tom's cabin)--but of course, that doesn't make it good reading! A lurid prohibitionist screed (I suspect most ppl read it for its luridness than its moral message), including death, insanity, destroyed families, broken & untrusted laws and men of laws, etc.
Some interesting/telling moments around arguments for temperance in the time (1854), property values in relationship to new saloons, etc.
Tom Rowe
Jun 29, 2011 Tom Rowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I regularly play in the melodrama, The Drunkard, which is based upon this book, I really enjoyed getting some more background on the characters. Otherwise, I probably would not have rated it so highly.
Tim Kruse
Sep 26, 2007 Tim Kruse rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those wondering if drinking isn't so bad...
It’s your typical late nineteenth century writing, not my favorite, but quite descriptive and to the point. Maybe old school for some, but the transcending truths of the lifestyle surrounding drinking should make people think twice before indulging in a needless practice.

K.A. Masters
T. S. Arthur's "Ten Nights in a Bar Room" is 250 pages of heavy-handed, sanctimonious Temperance propaganda.
Dec 31, 2008 Nikki rated it it was ok

this is one of those classic turn of the century novels about the evils of liquor. I founf it interesting, but I mainly read it because it is a classic leather bound copy in my family.
Sep 17, 2015 Mroberts rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT STORY-TELLING. Changed my alignment from popular opinion, that I didn't even know I had.
Tony Poerio
Jan 01, 2015 Tony Poerio rated it it was ok
Odd book by today's standards.

But strangely entertaining, and insightful from an historical perspective.

Like Reefer Madness, but for alcohol.
Tom Rowe
Aug 16, 2014 Tom Rowe rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Catherine Lu
Oct 19, 2015 Catherine Lu rated it really liked it
This was hilarious. And terrible. I enjoyed it.
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Full name: Timothy Shay Arthur. Founder of the magazines Arthur's Home Gazette, Arthur's Home Magazine, and The Children's Hour, and editor of the Baltimore Athenaeum and Baltimore Saturday Visitor.
More about T.S. Arthur...

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